Sonny Rollins - Saxophone Colossus

ISBN 13: 9781572524088

Sonny Rollins - Saxophone Colossus

 
9781572524088: Sonny Rollins - Saxophone Colossus
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Review:

When a jazz musician plays a solo that lasts for a full 15 minutes, not one of which is less than inspired, powerful, and entertaining; and when he later, in the midst of an inventive and witty unaccompanied solo, exuberantly leaps from the stage, breaks his heel in the process, and continues to play on his back.... Well, you know you're witnessing something special. And so it is with tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins. While he may not be as universally known as Charlie Parker or John Coltrane, jazz fans have regarded Rollins as the instrument's greatest living exponent, and this concert- documentary leaves no doubt as to why.

Filmed by producer-director-editor Robert Mugge in 1986, the 100-minute Saxophone Colossus focuses primarily on two performances: the aforementioned concert by the Rollins quintet at a rock quarry in Saugerties, New York, and the premiere of his Concerto for Tenor Saxophone and Orchestra in Tokyo. And while they are obviously quite different--the former is a freewheeling jazz gig, the latter a more august affair with a full orchestra playing (and Rollins blowing) under the guidance of Finnish conductor- orchestrator Heikki Sarmanto--both are pure Rollins, featuring his big sound, bold tone, and endless supply of ideas. Through interviews with Rollins and his wife, Lucille, we also learn a good deal about his life and philosophy, while a trio of jazz critics discusses his music and influence (the DVD also includes a full discography and some production information). In the end, though, it's the power of Sonny Rollins's music that makes this fascinating, entertaining document worth owning. --Sam Graham

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